Monday, April 25, 2011

Mother's Day Giveaway: Win 2 Bracelets from Plan Bee Los Angeles!

Hey mothers! Are you looking for something more than the much beloved soggy cereal in bed this year for Mother's Day? How about winning a pair of stunningly fashionable bracelets from Plan Bee Los Angeles?

These bracelets are fun, fashionable, and go with anything (really, you can wear one with jeans, yoga duds or out to dinner). The leather is durable, and each one is really one-of-a-kind (so you won't be plagued by copycat wearers). Plan Bee offers the lucky winner one of each line: Hipster Bling  in Hippy Chic (top) and Vintage Glam in Scrumptious (bottom), and they look gorgeous paired together or worn separately. They are hand studded, hand painted, and created with love. Plus, unlike a lot of cuffs, these bracelets are comfy to wear.

So how do you win? It's simple. Just leave a comment below and include your email address. The Toad will gather the addresses together, draw a name (randomly and solemnly) and inform the lucky winner next Wednesday, May 4th (plus announce the winner on Facebook), just in time for Mother's Day. And, if you don't "like" The Toad already on Facebook, a "like" would be greatly appreciated.

Want to peruse more of Plan Bee Los Angeles's wares? Visit Plan Bee and check it out.

So remember: comment on this post, include your email, and get ready to win a couple of Plan Bee bracelets! You could be the lucky winner of The Toad's very first giveaway ever.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wise Toad

Perhaps spring has finally sprung. The garden is going crazy, and the Toad's thoughts turn to garden decor. Of course, it's truly hard to gild the lily of a riotous early spring garden, but this item might do it.

Behold the Buddhist Toad. Well, not really. It's actually supposed to be a frog, and I can see that (the lack of warts and general stoutness might have tipped me off), but I can be in denial and call it a toad if I'd like. Check out the flowing robes, the studied stillness, the peaceful personage of this amphibian. He just whispers "spring" in soft, dulcet croaking tones. Actually, he's supposed to be praying, but I'm taking liberties here. Normally, I'm a fan of funky garden gnomes, but this guy would fit into any garden with aplomb.

Mr. Slimy Buddha is offered up by Potted, the greatest garden goods store on earth. They have tons of stuff, so if this sort of statuary isn't your giftee's cup of tea, check out the exclusive Circle planter as well.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oily Spring Gift

A common "foodie" gift these days is the bottle of ultra expensive olive oil. The problem with that is that olive oil turns rancid when exposed to light fairly quickly, meaning that you might be presenting your giftee with a glass bottle of rotten fat. How thoughtful.

This bottle of olive oil boasts an elegant solution to the rancidity issue. Its bottle is a traditional Puglian jar, ceramic and stubbornly opaque, painted in a rainbow pattern that would look lovely in any kitchen (but particularly in a clean, white, modernist one. I'm sure you know a lucky someone who has a kitchen like that. The Toad covets such a kitchen). The added plus to this gift is that this olive oil is fabulous, classically cold pressed liquid gold, squeezed from fancy Coratina olives. In other words, this is a lovely oil in a lovely vessel that isn't all rancid and nasty. What a great gift! And in spring colors, too!

Find this oil in the jar of many colors at Dean & DeLuca.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Support the Circus!

There's a pretty unique opportunity this weekend in Hollywood at Cirque School LA. And it gives hanging around on a Saturday night a whole new meaning.

Around twice a year, Cirque School LA puts together an amazing Student Showcase at its Hollywood airplane hangar like studio. When you hear "student" you might think of someone wobbling about on the trapeze, but many of these students have been practicing circus arts (think trapeze and silks) for years, almost to the point of being pros (I think some of them were pros, actually). This is a full on event, with lights, costumes, music and all the trappings of professionalism. As a devotee of the circus arts (the Toad hangs around on a trapeze roughly three times a week, but sadly can't perform this weekend), the Toad promises this will be a wonderful way to spend a Saturday evening. And since the start time is 7:00 and kids under 12 are admitted free, it makes for a lovely family event as well.

Did I mention Cirque School is located in the thick of Thai Town? That means that after ninety minutes of watching death defying feats, you can stroll down to Palms Thai and blow out your taste buds. What an evening! Visit Cirque School to purchase $10 tickets now.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Plagues of Passover

Lately, there's been a real attempt to make Passover a lot more fun. And that's good, because kids hate sitting around a table, keeping still, having to listen to adults read, and having to wait to eat. I've always felt that Passover, with its tale of gore, revenge, and retribution, was fabulous fodder for kids.

These plague kits help further this interest along. As anyone with any Jewish background knows, there were ten plagues of Egypt, each worse than the last, each sent by God to convince the Egyptians to release the Jews from servitude. When I was in college and attended Seders, we turned the ten plagues into a drinking game (we drank two shots at "boils"), but this is not acceptable behavior for responsible adults with young children. Instead, ply those kids with plague representations. Each bag contains:

1. A red disc for blood (easier on the tablecloth than spraying the wine)
2. 1 plastic frog for frogs (I never understood why this particular plague was so bad)
3. 1 black bag for lice (many kids have already experienced this plague at school)
4. 1 lion finger puppet for wild animals
5. 1 cow mash for cattle plague (probably anthrax)
6. 1 sticky hand with white dots for boils
7. 1 plastic ice cube for hail
8. 1 plastic locust for locusts
9. 1 pair of sunglasses for darkness, or Roy Orbison
10. 1 puzzle for death of firstborn

Does it sound overly morbid? Maybe to you, but it'll fascinate the little ones long enough to make it to the matzoh ball soup. At Oy Toys.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Not A Typical Pastel Bunny

Easter is coming! And, because I'm a completely non-compliant jew, I love Easter. I can hardly wait to enter See's and buy every chocolate egg and bunny I can find. But what about decor?

Ever since I saw Donnie Darko, I've had a penchant for creepy bunnies. Because bunnies are under rated as powerful animals. Their fluffy softness belies a predilection for kicking the crap out of predators and having urine so powerful it could strip the chrome off a doorknob. I've worked with bunnies, and they're no joke. This ceramic bunny is no exception to this rule. As you can see, although there's pastel color involved (it's available in pink and blue, too), this bunny is black and seems less than mirthful. It's a goth bunny forced into the Easter spirit. And it would look great in the middle of the table on Easter Sunday, mocking the ham.

This bunny is identified as "Sexy Bunny," but I'm not sure that fits, so don't be put off by the moniker. And it's not just for Easter. This sinister rabbit would look good lurking anywhere. At Ten Over Six.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Big Business

It seems that everyone is interested in big business these days, from state governors to investors. But who knew that women could have their own big business, right inside their bodies?

Recently, there's been much hay made of politicians seeking control over women and their bodies, most notably what goes in (and out) of their respective uteri. It seems strange that large corporations and Wall Street get all the breaks (and hey, even get free speech rights as if companies were actual people), but individual women seem to have strangers wanting to nose around in private personal places. So, the ACLU of Florida came up with a brilliant concept: incorporate your uterus! Through its handy certificate of incorporation, you can easily incorporate the uterus of your choice. That means not just your own equipment, but the uteri of friends and family, too (this could be a great shower gift, since a mom to be knows all about just what her uterus can, and cannot, put up with).

Now, here's the golden question: if you incorporate your uterus, will you have to pay taxes on it? The Toad doesn't know. But what a fabulous question for your accountant! Go to the ACLU of Florida to start your foray into big business.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Subversive Baby Gift

Obviously, I have a thing for words. If I didn't, I probably wouldn't spend so much time immersed in them, writing for you people. So, when I saw these Mark McGinnis alphabet prints, I immediately saw them for what they are: completely subversive child's room decor.

The way I see it, if you're the type of person who has Disney murals all over your kid's room (or has giftees on your list who do), why the hell are you reading this blog? The Toad hates cute, Disneyesque stuff on walls. But she loves these prints. If you know someone currently ready to explode with child, a piece of room decor is a fabulous gift. When all the adorable onesies have been pooped upon, the crib bedding destroyed, the bottle warmer discarded, that art you bought will probably still grace the walls. Naturally, there are some letter choices way more subversive that the ones pictured at right (how about "D" for "drive-by" or "X" for "xenophobic"). But just think: it's never too early for a child to understand the word "lobotomy."

At $160, these prints are hardly a bargain. But they're way more memorable than chipping in for a share in an obscenely priced stroller. At The Future Perfect.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Yoyodyne Propulsion Laboratories Forever

If the above title doesn't ring any bells, you probably weren't a big fan of "Buckaroo Banzai." This instant cult classic (first seen by The Toad at around 15 or so) is as funny today as the day it was released.

And, I'm sure you know Banzai geeks aplenty who'd love a copy of the movie for their very own (unlike other cult movies, like "Rocky Horror," "Banzai" doesn't require audience participation). With every viewing, the strange, deadpan irreverence becomes richer. Its very amateur qualities, like the absurd sets, bizarre mix of '80s and Village People attire, and the colorful eyewear (for god's sake, at one point everyone is wearing googles cut from bubble wrap), just adds to its charms. The plot is fairly loose, half the time you have no idea what's going on, but you don't care. And the fact that Peter Weller plays Banzai with such flat aplomb and Ellen Barkin emotes paranoid insanity as love interest Penny just adds to the hilarity. Not to mention John Lithgow as the evil Dr. Lizardo (just looking at him cracks me up) and Jeff Goldblum as Hong Kong Cavalier wannabe New Jersey.

There is a site devoted to all things Buckaroo Banzai. You can find out important information, like "why is that watermelon there?" Plus, it gives you all the details on where to purchase the best version of Buckaroo, to give to all the fans on your list. Go there now, because wherever you go, there you are.